Monday, July 02, 2007

Cooperative Tags

Tags are a great facility to assign meaning to contributions. They are very useful when it comes to personal information management. However, they are problematic regarding collaborative information management - every user will generate different tags relative to their experience, intentions, etc.

Much has been written about the issue of folksonomies, taxonomies and tags. I do understand that taxonomies are not considered very user-friendly - but on the other hand, the evolution of folksonomies does not seem to be very goal-directed. Which goal, you may ask? To help find information based on specific concepts that may come to mind.

The most well-known approach is to assign user-specific labels to a resource, or a chunk of information. For very popular resources, you may end up with lots of different tags, while other resources may end up with only the tags its author had thought of.

Today I discovered an interesting approach to help keep folksonomies tidy by adding a means to rate them (seen on MovieLens). By rating the appropriateness of a tag (on a scale between 0 and 1), based on a sufficiently large number of users, the so-called "wisdom of the crowds" should lead to an improvement of supplied tags. As tags are always relative to a tagged entity, the other question that should also be addressed is how to appropriately monitor tag evolution. Should inappropriate tags (i. e. whose rating relative to a resource does not exceed a given threshold) be automatically removed? Should tags which are considered as very useful be added to a tag dictionary?

Last, but not least: when combining taxonomies and folksonomies, what should be done to relate them, e. g. should there be associated (recommended) tags for a term in the taxonomy?

As I am surely not the first to raise these questions, I would welcome any feedback on this issue.

No comments: